Dinosaur Tracks and Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2015. Filed under: American Southwest, Philosophy | Tags: , , , |


It boggles the mind that a creature could have trod so long ago on this very spot!  Something with 3 toes!  The American southwest is full of delightful surprises like this.  It makes me feel small and insignificant in the vast scheme of time.  But Christmas reminds me that I am a child of the King of kings.  I was important enough for God Himself to step down from His throne to become a human baby; to come to all of us to save us all from our self-made miserable little lives.   Merry Christmas and thank you, thank you to my heavenly Father for the best gift of all, Jesus, Emmanuel, God-with-us!

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Fascinated by a Skeleton

Posted on February 15, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , |


I was extremely fortunate – good timing and pricing on my side – to acquire a full human skeleton recently.  As a massage therapist and massage therapy educator I have been a student of human anatomy for many years now.  I thought I knew my stuff.

But now I have spent a few hours with this specimen because it was very dusty and in need of cleaning.  As I swiped over much of the surfaces of these bones with a swab soaked in hydrogen peroxide, I had a chance to fully examine a real skeleton from head to toe.DSC05904



I am humbled by the real thing.  These bones are such beautiful natural sculptures.  They are so much more intricate than any copy I’ve studied before.   It’s hard not to be moved in some fundamental way.

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Amazon’s Modern Day Censorship

Posted on January 14, 2014. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Kindle censorship

Here is the screen on my Kindle for recently blocked Youtube videos – showing its dark gray speckles.   I have an email in to Amazon to confirm this was intentional, but as of today, I am not allowed to view any video on Youtube on my Kindle that talks about a certain topic.  That is, until I found the wonderful geeks (God love the geeks!) online who will tell you how to get the real Youtube app on your Kindle where YOU decide what to watch without any screening by Amazon.  No matter what your views on individual Youtube video topics, I think you should find this censorship by Amazon alarming.

Years ago, as a second grade teacher in a local elementary school, I had a book on Egyptian mummies in my class.  It explained how the ancient Egyptians pulled the brain through the nostrils with long metal hooks to embalm separately from the body in jars.  Maybe you can imagine how popular this book was with 8 year old boys.  It was difficult reading, not really 2nd grade level, but because of its enormously interesting content, every boy in my class and quite a few girls too, were scrambling to get their hands on this book and decipher this fascinating information.  This was a reading teacher’s dream come true, because the motivation was strong to overcome the difficulty in actually decoding the words.

Then one of the boys’ mother came in to complain.  She didn’t want her son reading this book.  I said, “No problem.  He won’t have access to the book.  Your choice.”  Noooooo…..this was not good enough.  She wanted the book removed from my classroom stating, “No one needs to know this information.” 

Whoa there.  You have just stepped beyond valid parental authority to making a decision for other people (about historical knowledge no less) and that is where I draw the line.  Even in second grade.  Thankfully the principal backed me up and the book stayed on my shelf and now it was even more desirable!

Does Amazon really think they can play overzealous Mama to the American public?  And even if they have aims to change the U.S. law, do they think by turning off my ability to watch a video this will somehow be accomplished?  What a thought.  Big Brother Amazon sets out to rule the nation by restricting information.  Infuriating!!  Many thanks to the wonderful people at H2 Tech Videos for getting me a fix for this most irritating instance of censorship.

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New Year – Actually Doing It Already

Posted on January 12, 2014. Filed under: Art, Just Fun, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , |

deer drawing

I have wanted to draw more and use my kettlebells at least once a week.  So the time?  Where does it come from?  I’m going to try to get it from less blogging and time on facebook.  Also less shopping.  I find drawing about the most relaxing activity, but it does take effort, probably more than those other things that have been eating up my time.  Once I start, though, I’m absorbed so that’s the trick.  For now I’m going to try drawing on the days I don’t exercise.  That block of time will be for one or the other.  I’m going to see how it goes.

This deer needs a lot of work, but I see them almost daily very close to the house so I get some great shots of them from which I can work.  Since the landscape is pretty bleak right now they add some interest.  I love their ears!

By the way, the kettlebells have been used 2 weeks in a row.  Today was the first day for drawing in 2014.  We’ll see how long it lasts!

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Don’t Be a Loser Failure in 2014

Posted on December 31, 2013. Filed under: Exercise, Health, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , |

No one wants to talk about resolutions this year.  I think it’s because many people have made them and promptly broken them.  People who work out at clubs can tell you that for 3-4 weeks beginning in January the places are jammed, but then, thankfully, all the newbies go back to their normal inactive lives.

The brink of a new year makes us think about ways to improve our lives.  We imagine a leaner, healthier, more creative, happier new year.  We make goals and begin to follow through on them.  And then we just forget about it until next year.  Why?  Don’t we really want to have that life that we envision for ourselves?  Then why don’t we do it?

I’ll tell you:  all these resolutions are actually activities.  Activities take time.  You cannot just do more without giving up something that presently takes your time.  So, every resolution has to have a positive and a negative; that is, they have to say what you will do more and what you will do less!  Let’s try it out…

In 2014, I resolve to exercise for at least 30 minutes 3x per week AND shop for great deals at TJMaxx not more than 1x per month.

I do think it is unrealistic that you’ll give up entirely something useless that you do enjoy, but you get the idea.  I think the resolution has to have 2 parts and then you probably have to hold yourself accountable with a chart that lives in the car.  Record the date you went to the store for that month so you don’t forget.  Also make a written record of your workouts.  It does reinforce that you are being successful.

Kettle bells

Can you see the cobwebs on my kettlebells? Maybe you can guess what my resolution is about this year?

I also think that when people make too many resolutions they are dooming themselves to failure.  You are not going to quit smoking, lose weight, start exercising, learn to cook healthy, stop yelling at your kids, and clean the house more all at once!  I suggest picking 1 that you’d really like to conquer.  That will be a huge accomplishment when you really incorporate it into your life for good.  Pick the one that you’ve been wanting for the most time.  Once you get that one under control you will have started a snowball to attempt the others one at a time.

I’d be interested to know how your resolutions work out this year, especially if you use any of my suggestions!  Peace and prosperity, health and longevity, love and learning for all in 2014!

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Peace on Earth

Posted on December 24, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy, Photography | Tags: , , , |

Photography - Winter SunriseThis Christmas Eve day – what a spectacular sunrise!  Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth.  Merry Christmas everyone!

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Stay Home if You Are an Ugly American

Posted on December 9, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - Bill at Cinque Terre

Hiking in the Cinque Terre

As we travel around we find many fellow travelers who are friendly and enjoying their trips as much as we do.  We also occasionally come upon what we term the Ugly American who makes us ashamed to come from the same place.

I think you are an Ugly American traveler if:

1.   You expect to be able to have everything just as you like it at home.  (“We insist on American-style coffee, not this espresso-stuff they drink here.”)  If you even try unusual local food/drink you expect it to be unpalatable, or something that will make you sick.

2.  You get angry that there are other people trying to travel too.  You are surprised and irritated when you have to wait in line, share a table, or tolerate a crowd at an important attraction.

3.  You look at people’s customs, dress, and language with disdain.   You see nothing but inferiority everywhere you look.

4.  You expect everything to go perfectly smoothly.  When the inevitable disruption to your plans happens, you wallow in self-pity instead of finding a way to make lemonade out of lemons.

5.  You are frightful of local people, expecting them to rob you when they have the first chance.

6.  You are actually happy when you see McDonald’s, Starbucks, and the like in foreign countries.

When we run across Ugly Americans we try to slink away.  They want co-conspirators, though, so there have been times we’ve tried to show them the bright side.  Aren’t the differences in culture they are experiencing interesting?  Haven’t locals been friendly and helpful considering how many tourists traipse through their area every season?  Isn’t it amazing to see such wonderful, world-famous art/mountains/historical sites?

Trust me, there is no arguing Ugly Americans out of their mindset.  Next time I might just say, “You should stay home.”  That is the truth.  If you can’t enjoy the differences between your destination and your home, then you should stay there, at home.  If the food, drink, accommodation, weather, sights, people and transportation are irritating to you, why have you come at all?!  You are not enjoying it and your fellow travelers are ashamed of you.

Travel - Atop the Duomo

Atop the Duomo in Florence

Travel - Chestnut seller

Chestnut seller in Florence

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Why I Abhor Multi-Level Marketing

Posted on December 3, 2013. Filed under: Just Fun, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , |

No, no, no!  Stop right there.  No, don’t say another word.  I can see it in your eyes.  You are already in the grip of a multi-level marketing scheme.  I know the look.  You have “information” for me that I’m going to “want.”  You have one or many “products” you are so excited about.  They have changed your life in amazing ways.  You know that I am going to want to be in on this.  I’m going to want this “opportunity.”  When can we get together to get me signed up?

Stop.  Right.  There.

Travel - Mushroom Buying 2

I like buying and selling the old fashioned way.

Here’s why I abhor multi-level marketing:

1.  It turns normal people into crazed, exited automatons who spout the “facts” they have been given by their MLM company.

2.  It means these people can never have a conversation again that doesn’t include something about their MLM company/products.

3.  People in MLM marketing will go to great lengths to get another distributor working in their “network.”

I once had a massage client who worked diligently during her massage sessions to sell me.  After it became apparent that I was hopeless, I never saw her again.  She spent quite a bit of money booking massage with me.  The dedication was impressive.  I had to promise her if I ever changed my mind, even if someone else from the same company changed my mind, that I would work under her, in her network.  I was very glad to make this promise and wish her a final good-bye once I figured out that she didn’t really want massage.  

4.  The products might even be pretty good, but they are priced so that the company can send distributors on trips, buy them cars, and pay all the levels in the network.  I’ve never been unable to find a product or components of their “special” formulations outside of the MLM malarkey.

5.  Distributors become like cult followers.  They lose all ability to question the authoritative statements of the MLM company propaganda.  They do not want to even look at any detractors.  They can’t even wonder if there is a placebo effect going on.  The company founders “know” and have “research” to back up their claims.

6.  They’re going to save you so much money, make you so much money, make you feel/look so great/young…

Run for the hills, I say!   There is an old saying that has served me well over the years, “If it sounds too good to be true, it is.”

With gratitude to Bill McCluskey for the photography in this post.

Travel - Mushroom Buying 1

Porcini buying in Italy. My kind of transaction!

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Italian Mountain Church

Posted on October 2, 2013. Filed under: Italy, Philosophy, Photography, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - Mountain ChurchMountains make me contemplative.  They are so massive with soaring heights of rock and plunging valleys.  Their skies hold wild winds and clouds.  I can understand the logic in putting a tiny church right here.  A quiet and small place to retreat and commune with the Creator of all this.  Lovely.

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My Mom the Hoot

Posted on September 15, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , |

mom in red jacket

Today is my mom’s birthday, and even though she is in heaven today, I think of her because of her pithy sayings.  The older I get, the more these words ring in my head and actually come out of my mouth!

Are you ready?  Some are a bit crass.  She was never afraid to be crass if there was a laugh at stake!

Use your head for something other than a hat rack.

If you don’t like it, lump it.

I like me, who do you like?

Better late than never.

You luparsh! (flabby-ass in Polish slang)

Wait?  Wait broke down the bridge.

Shit isn’t swearing.  If you can’t shit you’re sick.

Never put off for tomorrow what can be done today.

Ee-er-sen-si-woo-loo-chai-bai-joow-shi, you think I’m crazy, my mother rides around in a little red kiddie car.  (Make string motion between ears as though flossing the brain.)

Don’t wish your life away.

(Any pen that wasn’t fine-tipped)- This isn’t a pen, it’s a paintbrush.

What do you want, egg in your beer?

No time like the present.

Don’t put off for tomorrow what can be done today.

You’re ATNA – all talk no action!


As you can imagine, she could be a handful.  She was also incredibly strong-willed and optimistic.  I will miss her always.

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